Hey Everyone, hope you’re all well,
I think I’ve been bitten by the writing bug again! It makes a nice change. As much as I have loved re-discovering my inner creativity through my photography, it is nice to once again be expressing myself with words, as opposed to imagery.
On what is frankly a miserable, grey, cold and rainy Monday here in the UK, we all know that despondent feeling of returning to work after a weekend that seemingly evaporated into thin-air. At the moment, this feeling is mixed with a number of others. Anxiety creeps in, my contract at work is up in less than two months now. My spare time is filled with filling out applications for jobs, and waiting for replies with nervous anticipation.
I’m also guilty of serious social envy. It’s not pretty, and it makes me feel rubbish about myself, but short of emptying the vast majority of my social media accounts, there isn’t much I can do about it. I’m sure you’re all familiar with scrolling through your Facebook news feed: seeing amazing holidays, births, engagements, weddings, new houses, new jobs/amazing careers, and even new pets! It’s tough.
But it is so easy to succumb to these feelings, and before you know it, resentment begins to bubble deep within you, which isn’t healthy, but it is natural and understandable. It seems to be a recurring theme in popular culture, starting for some in your early 20’s, life envy has been the focal point of books, TV series’, films and more.
So what can we do about it? Don’t block it out, but instead, embrace it. It can be the hardest place to start, but congratulate people on their successes. Get into the habit of it, force yourself to do it if necessary, but this can start a spark of a change in attitudes (I’ll revisit this below). This is difficult, don’t get me wrong. When life is getting you down, the last thing most of us want to do is congratulate others. But it is possible to turn those negative feelings around, and start to use the energy we waste on envying the lives of others to make positive changes in our own lives. This small change in state of mind can be enough to cause a snowball effect, and with some hard work and persistence, hopefully we can all start to see positive changes in our lives.
For anybody interested, there is research conducted in this field, and I found this review by Bolton et al. a fascinating read, with further links to research papers. Page 255 specifically lists social media envy as a negative societal outcome of social media use in millennials.
So how does this relate to me and my career/life? I’ve been badly suffering from social media envy for several months now, after leaving a troubling PhD course last year (see PhD – Fight or Flight, and My Life Post-Science), I have at times struggled to see my place in the world. I feel at times like I lack purpose. After years of education, based on a solid track of progression and reward, I jumped out of the system – and man was it a shock. With months passing by, and seemingly no life progression compared to friends and peers, I started to question, doubt and be angry at myself, wondering what I was doing wrong.
I love my current job, and it truly is a shame that my contract is up soon. Temporary contracts can do that to you, making you feel like a career nomad. And since January, I have never felt at home – I have never truly being proud of the work I do. And that is something I dearly aspire to. I long for that feeling of pride, and have since I left my PhD (a humbling life experience). I want to wake up on a cold, grey morning, and be enthused to go to work, knowing I will make a difference. I want to really use the skills I learned in the years I dedicated to studying. I want somebody to give me a chance, to do what I do best – communicate. I want somebody to look past my lack of marketing and communications qualifications, and look at me. To look at me and my experience. The hours upon days upon weeks I have worked in my own time on communications projects. To look at my personality, and speak to those who have worked with me. Because at the end of the day, people deserve a chance. We all deserve a chance to achieve what we want in our lives. Positive thinking and hard work are so paramount, as is persistence in the face of rejection. But for those who achieve success, how many of you were given a break? How many of you had someone who looked at who you truly are, and gave you a chance.
So I end with this. Don’t give up. Be tenacious. Work hard. Play hard. Smile, laugh, love (all that good stuff). Focus on both the destination and the journey – enjoy the journey through life and what you have right now, but use your destination as the focus that drives you. Want to know why I suggested that you start to pick yourself up by being nice to others? Because when you make it, when you achieve that success. Do one thing. Be kind to others. If you have the ability, reach out a helping hand. I can guarantee, you will change someone’s life.
Thanks you so much for reading,
p.s. For those who don’t know, I’m a huge Marvel fan, so here’s a motivational poster for this #MotivationMonday, enjoy!